Trust Case Decided By Iowa Supreme Court

wills and trusts in iowa

On April 5, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Serena Konrardy and Carrie Rigdon n/k/a Carrie Burmeister vs. Vincent Angerer Trust and DeWitt Bank & Trust Company, as Trustee of said Trust. The Trust provided that on the death of the Trustor, equal shares would be established for each of the Trustor’s five siblings.  Each share was to be placed in individual trusts for the sibling and the spouse of a deceased sibling.  If both a sibling and the sibling’s spouse had died, the Trust directed the trustee to distribute the Trust share to

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Safe Harbor for Rental Real Estate – What You Need to Know

real estate safe harbor tax law

Last month the IRS issued the final regulations regarding Section 199A.  The IRS also issued IRS Notice 2019-07 which set forth a safe harbor under which a rental real estate enterprise would be treated as a trade or business under Section 199A.  The purpose of the Notice is to give taxpayers guidelines as to the application of the 199A deduction for rental real estate properties. To qualify for the safe harbor requirements, the taxpayer must meet the following requirements: Keep separate books and records setting out the income and expenses for the rental real estate enterprise; For tax years beginning

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Professional Tax Preparation Recommended for Businesses

professional tax preparation

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has added a number of complex issues to the tax preparation for businesses. Taxpayers who previously prepared their own tax returns with Schedule C’s or Schedule F’s will face many complex issues under the new tax act.  One issue is the new 20 percent pass–through deduction for non-C corporation businesses. The Act also has significant changes regarding depreciation and the deduction of expenses. Another item that adds complexity to tax preparation for 2018 is that the State of Iowa has not adopted the changes in federal tax law for the year 2018. I highly

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Iowa Governor Signs Real Estate Partition Law

iowa real estate law contract

The Governor recently signed SF 2175 into law which replaces Iowa Code Chapter 651 which deals with Partition of Real Estate.  The biggest change in the new law is the establishment of a partition procedure for “heirs property”.  For the first time a new law allows the equitable remedy of “owelty” which provides for a payment of money to equalize the value of property received in a partition in kind action.  Under the new Chapter, an individual who inherits property as a tenant in common with other relatives and who does not want to sell the property, in all likelihood

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New Laws Pertaining to First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts

first time homebuyer contract des moines

A new law was recently signed by the Governor which authorizes tax-preferred First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts beginning in the year 2018.  Under the law, when an individual sets up a FTHSA account, he or she may exclude from their Iowa adjusted gross income yearly deposits of $2,000.  Married taxpayers who file a joint return may exclude up to $4,000.00 a year if the money is deposited into a joint FTHSA.  Any interest earned on a FTHSA account, will not be included in a taxpayer’s income. At the time that the FTHSA is opened, an individual can designate a sole beneficiary. 

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Iowa Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

laws about digital assets iowa

On April 20, 2017, Governor Branstad signed the Iowa Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act which is codified in Chapter 638 of the Iowa Code.  The Act broadly defines “digital asset” to mean any electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest.  However, the term “digital asset” does not include an underlying asset or liability unless the asset or liability is itself an electronic record and the term “digital asset” does not include health information or individually identifiable health information as those terms are defined in the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. 

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Dismissal of Des Moines Waterworks Lawsuit

des moines water works ruling

The lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Waterworks against the drainage districts in three Northwest Iowa Counties has been followed extensively in the press.  The case which deals with the issue of how to deal with the levels of nitrates in the State’s drinking water was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.  The Federal District Court Judge certified four questions to the Iowa Supreme Court in order to clarify issues of Iowa law raised in the lawsuit.  The Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling finding that Iowa law has immunized drainage districts from

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Understanding Continuation of Restrictive Covenants

real estate covenant

Many residential developments (homes, condos and townhomes) have restrictive covenants which set out restrictions regarding the use of properties located in the development.  Most restrictive covenants set forth the term of years that the restrictive covenants will be in effect.  As set out below, such terms do not always apply to restrictive covenants that are also “use restrictions”. Chapter 614.24 of the Iowa Code was initially adopted in 1965 and provides for the termination of all “use restrictions” on a property after a period of 21 years.  The term “use restrictions” has never been defined in the Code until the

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More About Mediation

mediation, probate court mediation, mediation services

In last month’s blog, Jim Beatty discussed the mediation program for probate matters in Polk County. This blog will piggyback on that blog. Recently, I have had my first experience facilitating a mediation involving a probate matter. In anticipation of the mediation event, I did some research regarding styles of facilitating a mediation event and the styles of the positions of the disputing parties. Not only is it important to clearly identify a mutual understanding of the disputed issues, but equally important to identify the emotional impact which both have related to the dispute. The fact issue will most often be an economic (business matter)

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Skepticism as a Useful Tool

legal sceptic evaluation

I am not suggesting that one must be a skeptic but rather that constructive doubt is useful in my profession.  I need to have an understanding of the differences among (1) what I think, (2) what I believe, and (3) what I know. With regard to thinking, it involves the development of a process by which I gather information.  It is being open-minded, being non-judgmental and does not evaluate the information or documentation assembled. With regard to what I believe, it involves looking at the information and the documentation assembled and sorting through the information and documentation to analyze which

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